Pixel Scroll 7/29/23 Glass Pixels Are Good For Seeing Into The Hearts Of Scrolls

(1) CLASSIC CAR WITH AN SFF PEDIGREE. J. Michael Straczysnki told Facebook readers he needs a taker for the late Harlan Ellison’s 1947 Packard.

For the last six months, we’ve talked to just about every vintage car company in existence about buying Harlan’s 1947 Packard, to no avail. It’s not an especially collectible car, not in great condition, not worth much on the market, and nobody we spoke to knew who Harlan was or felt that this added to its market value.

We need to get the car out of the garage where it’s been sitting, exposed to the elements, every day for almost ten years because the plan is to turn the open garage into an enclosed, on-site storage and work area to make it easier to work on the house, rotate out equipment, and store display cabinets and other items to be used for exhibitions. But I really don’t want to just sell it for parts because it hurts my heart.

Knowing Harlan, I think he’d want the Packard to end up in the hands of a fan who could appreciate it, look after it, maybe fix it up over time. Which brings me here. If there’s a stone Harlan fan who can arrange to have the car (safely) picked up and transported away, it’s yours.

(And to everyone looking on: please don’t send me suggestions or links or say “well, what about this company?” or “I think I know a guy” or “what about an SF museum somewhere” because we have spent half a year chasing that stuff down and come up empty every time. We have to start the process of transforming the garage into on-site storage and as a place for the contractors currently making repairs to the house to seek refuge from the bitter heat. It’s been a long, difficult and annoying process, with so many folks flaking out on us, so honestly, just don’t.)

Any takers? Serious only. Must be able to pick it up by no later than the end of August.

UPDATED TO ADD: Despite the very clear request not to post more dead-end solutions, true to the tradition of the Internet, people keep posting the very thing they’re being asked not to post. I don’t mean to be crotchety about it, but I don’t know how to express it any more clearly: the only posts here should be from folks interested in taking the car, so if we can keep the signal to noise ratio to a minimum that would be grand. Otherwise every time I get pinged with a notification and think, oh, good, we have someone who can take the car, I come back to…the opposite.

Harlan Ellison wrote about his love for that Packard here.

I’m sitting in my car, my car is a 1947 Packard. I got a current car. I drive that one, but I love the Packard. I love the Packard because it was built to run, built to last. You could hit this car with 200 small Japanese cars and they would be demolished into ashes. When I go past a grade school little kids have no idea what this car is. They have no idea it was made in 1947. They don’t even know there was a year called 1947. But they see this car go by and they give me that (thumbs up & OK signs) and that means they recognize something that is forever, like the pyramids….

(2) X NO LONGER MARKS THE SPOT. Charlie Jane Anders has pulled the plug on her X (formerly Twitter) account. It’s gone. “If you see me on Twitter, it’s not me”. She tells why another common strategy for leaving the platform wouldn’t work for her:

…. Many, many people have advised me to delete all of my tweets, lock my account, and simply stop tweeting. Their argument is that someone else could take my username and impersonate me, which feels like a real, serious issue — but if I leave my account inactive for long enough, Twitter will probably take my username away and let someone else take it in any case. So I apologize in advance to anyone who sees a fake Charlie Jane on Twitter and gets confused. It’s not me, I swear. (And that’s part of why I’m writing this newsletter: so people can point to it if there’s any confusion.)

I feel the need to make a clean break from Twitter at this point. After all of the proliferation of hate speech, and the random shutdowns of progressive accounts that challenge the owner’s rigid orthodoxy, I was already wanting to make a break for it. But after the latest scandals involving CSAM, I really feel as though I have no choice. And the “clean break” thing feels important — to be honest, I don’t entirely trust myself not to log in a month from now when I have something to announce, unless I delete the account entirely….

(3) CELEBRATE BRATMAN’S HALF-CENTURY OF SCHOLARSHIP. A collection of David Bratman’s nonfiction, Gifted Amateurs, has been released by the Mythopoeic Press.

For more than four decades, David Bratman has established himself as a leading authority on J.R.R. Tolkien, the Inklings, and the enchanting realms of fantasy literature. Bratman’s scholarly articles, captivating Mythopoeic Conference presentations, and esteemed editorial work for the newsletter Mythprint and the journal Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review have solidified his expertise. Now, in celebration of his profound contributions and recent distinction as the Scholar Guest of Honor at Mythcon 52, the Mythopoeic Press proudly presents Gifted Amateurs and Other Essays, an extraordinary collection of some of Bratman’s most insightful, engaging, and intellectually stimulating works.

Within these pages, discover the untold stories behind the “Top Ten Rejected Plot Twists from The Lord of the Rings,” unravel the religious themes woven throughout Middle-earth, and delve into the surprising origins of hobbit names. Guided by Bratman’s unwavering curiosity and scholarly passion, explore the fascinating history of the Inklings and how they connect to the boundless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, unearth the dramatic works of Lord Dunsany and the overlooked masterpiece of Mervyn Peake, and revel in the mythopoeic genius of Roger Zelazny. Seamlessly blending scholarship and entertainment, Gifted Amateurs and Other Essays invites readers on a journey that illuminates the true essence and enduring power of mythopoeic storytelling.

David Bratman has been writing Tolkien scholarship for nearly 50 years. He’s been co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review since 2013 and has edited its annual “Year’s Work in Tolkien Studies” since 2004. In addition to contributing to Tolkien scholarship, Bratman has published works on Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, Ursula Le Guin, Mervyn Peake, Neil Gaiman, and others. Now a retired academic librarian, Bratman also was editor of the Mythopoeic Society’s members’ bulletin Mythprint for 15 years and worked on many Mythopoeic Conferences, including serving twice as chair.

(4) SDCC SOUVENIR BOOK. The 2023 San Diego Comi-Con souvenir book can be downloaded as a free PDF here.

(5) WANT TO BE A SPSFC JUDGE? The Self-Published Science Fiction Competition is recruiting judges for its third season. Apply here.

(6) YEARS PASS AND THESE ARE STILL LIVE ISSUES. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] SAG-AFTRA and producers are still at odds over many things. But, at least they have seemingly agreed to end the large majority of paintdowns and wiggings. 

Wait, what?

“Ending One of the Last Vestiges of Blackface in Hollywood” in Rolling Stone.

As SAG strikes, stunt performers have proposed one thing the union and studios can agree on: a new process to end controversial “paintdowns” and “wiggings”

Actor Jason George was a few years into his career when he secured his first starring role in a movie. It was the early 2000s, and he’d been cast as a co-lead in a mountain climbing flick called The Climb. He was excited for the prospect of a break until he walked into a trailer one day and saw a white man “wearing my wardrobe, my helmet, my climbing harness, and they’re putting makeup on him to make him look like me.”

George, who is Black, was stunned. 

“I did a double take — if you’d shot it for a movie, [my reaction] would’ve been too much, too big,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I stepped out to make sure I was in the right place, came back in, and said, ‘What is happening?’ And they said, ‘This is your stunt double.’”

What George had walked in on was a “paintdown.” It wasn’t blackface in the traditional sense of a minstrel show, but it was also definitely blackface. One of Hollywood’s many seedy little secrets, a paintdown is when the skin of a white stunt performer is darkened so they can double for an actor of color — rather than just hiring a stunt performer of the same ethnicity….

In the 20-odd years since, paintdowns and “wiggings” — a similar practice where, instead of hiring a stuntwoman, a man is dressed up to double a woman — have been on the decline, but they’re far from eradicated….

(7) A LITTLE MISTAKE. [Item by Kevin Hogan.] I always start my Hugo ballot early, based on what I nominated.  In case I’m abducted by aliens, at least my initial preferences will be taken into account.

The website itself is nicely done, and the ranking of choices is easy enough.  No way to accidentally rank multiple entries the same number with a drag and drop system. 

I feel that the English proofreading on the nominees might need another pass, though.  Unless Rachel Hartman truly is the secret 7th member of Monty Python.

Editor’s note: In case that’s too hard to read, we’re talking about Lodestone Award finalist Rachel Hartman’s In the Serpent’s Wake. When I voted today I copied the Chinese characters for Hartman’s work and ran them through Google Translate. It returned “Monty Python – Rachel Hartman (Random Children’s Books)” in English. The self-same Chinese text is part of the 2023 Hugo finalists press release.

(8) ROLL BACK THE RED CARPET. The New York Times is reporting “With Actors on Strike, Sony Pushes Big Releases to 2024”.

…Sony Pictures Entertainment on Friday pushed back the release of two major films that had been set to arrive in theaters by the end of the year — the Marvel Comics-based “Kraven the Hunter” and a sequel to “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”

In addition, Sony is postponing some of its big 2024 releases. “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse,” is no longer on track for a March premiere, and a new “Karate Kid” will no longer arrive in June.

Until now, the 2023 theatrical release schedule had been left relatively unscathed by the actors’ strike, which started on July 14. But other studios are likely to follow Sony’s lead. Warner Bros. has been debating whether to postpone “Dune: Part Two,” which is supposed to arrive in theaters on Nov. 3. “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” a big-budget superhero sequel, and “The Color Purple,” based on the Broadway musical, are among other 2023 holiday-season movies that could be delayed….

(9) BO GOLDMAN (1932-2023.) [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Bo Goldman is probably best known as the screenwriter for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but many of his films received acclaim. He won two Oscars (for Cuckoo’s Nest plus Melvin and Howard) and was nominated for a third (for Scent of a Woman). Goldman died July 25. Read Variety’s tribute: “Bo Goldman, Oscar-Winning Writer of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Script, Dies at 90”.

His only completed and credited genre work appears to be the script for Meet Joe Black (1998)—starring Brad Pitt as Joe Black, aka Death. He did also do uncredited script revisions for 1990’s Dick Tracy.

In an alternate reality, we could’ve seen Goldman’s take on the King Kong story. In 1975 he wrote a script for a Universal film, to be called The Legend of King Kong. It went unproduced after Paramount and Dino DeLaurentis sued in favor of their own 1976 release of King Kong. (Source: IMDb, Trivia section of his entry.)

Goldman is also credited as one of the sources for a fan-produced King Kong film from 2016


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 29, 1888 Farnsworth Wright. Editor of Weird Tales, editing an amazing 179 issues from November 1924–March 1940. Mike Ashley in EoSF says, “Wright developed WT from a relatively routine horror pulp magazine to create what has become a legend.” His own genre fiction is generally considered undistinguished. He also edited during the Thirties, Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet. The work available digitally is a poem, “After Two Nights of the Ear-ache”. He was nominated at Loncon 3 for a Best Editor Retro Hugo. (Died 1940.)
  • Born July 29, 1907 Melvin Belli. Sole genre role is that of Gorgan (also known as the “Friendly Angel”) in the Star Trek “And the Children Shall Lead” episode. Koenig objected to his playing this role believing the role should have gone to someone who was an actor. (Died 1996.)
  • Born July 29, 1915 Kay Dick. Author of two genre novels, The Mandrake Root and At Close of Eve, plus a collection, The Uncertain Element: An Anthology of Fanta. She is known in Britain for campaigning successfully for the introduction of the Public Lending Right which pays royalties to authors when their books are borrowed from public libraries. They which may or may not be genre is her only work available at the usual suspects. (Died 2001.)
  • Born July 29, 1927 Jean E. Karl. Founder of Atheneum Children’s Books, where she edited Ursula K Le Guin’s early Earthsea novels and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series. An SF author as well for children and young adults, she wrote The Turning Place collection and three novels, Beloved Benjamin is WaitingBut We are Not of Earth and Strange Tomorrow. (Died 2000.)
  • Born July 29, 1941 David Warner. Being Lysander in that A Midsummer Night’s Dream was his first genre role. I’m going to do just highlights after that as he’s got far too extensive a genre history to list everything. So he’s been A Most Delightful Evil in Time Bandits, Jack the Ripper in Time After Time, Ed Dillinger / Sark In Tron, Father in The Company of Wolves, Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, The Creature in Frankenstein, voice of Ra’s al Ghul on Batman: The Animated Series and Abraham Van Helsing on Penny Dreadful. (Died 2022.)
  • Born July 29, 1955 Dave Stevens. American illustrator and comics artist. He created The Rocketeer comic book and film character. It’s worth noting that he assisted Russ Manning on the Star Wars newspaper strip and worked on the storyboards for Raiders of the Lost ArkThe Rocketeer film was nominated for a Hugo at MagiCon which was the year Terminator 2: Judgment Day won. (Died 2008.)
  • Born July 29, 1956 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 67. Author of the India set magical realist The Brotherhood of the Conch series. She also has three one-off novels, The Palace of Illusions, The Mistress of Spices, and The Forest of Enchantments.

(11) VALHALLA FOR FANZINES. Thanks to Heath Row, the late Marty Cantor’s 54 boxes have been delivered to the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside. See photos on FB.

Today a friend and I loaded a rented van with 54 boxes of science fiction fanzines and amateur press association bundles and mailings to donate to the Eaton collection at UC Riverside. The collection spans 1975 to the present day. It is a veritable treasure trove.

(12) A JOLLY PAIR OF FRIGHTENERS. Once upon a time in 1968, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price sang a duet on the Red Skelton Hour.

(13) IS THAT WATER THEY SEE? [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] There’s a pre-print just up on Nature in which an international collaboration of western European based astronomers has reported the detection of water in the terrestrial zone of a planet forming star system.

PDS 70 (V1032 Centauri) is a very young T Tauri star in the constellation Centaurus. Located 370 light-years (110 parsecs) from Earth, it has a mass of 0.76 M☉ and is approximately 5.4 million years old. The star has a protoplanetary disk containing two very early exoplanets, named PDS 70b and PDS 70c, which have previously been directly imaged by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. PDS 70b was the first confirmed protoplanet to be directly imaged.

Terrestrial and sub-Neptune planets are expected to form in the inner (less than 10 AU – 1 AU being the distance from Earth to the Sun) regions of protoplanetary disks.

The European astronomers’ findings show water in the inner disk of PDS 70. This implies that potential terrestrial planets forming therein have access to a water reservoir.

OK, before we get too excited 1) the edge of the detection is 1 AU (the distance from the Earth to our Sun) and 2) PDS 70 is smaller, hence cooler, K-type star than our Sun and so the habitable zone would closer in to the star than in the Solar System: further in than the 1AU detection limit.

OK, we can get a little excited. There has been a fair bit about water in proto-planetary systems recently and the over-all picture emerging does seem that it is likely that water might exist early in star systems’ lives in the habitable zone and not — as it is today either already on planets or alternatively on small bodies beyond planetary snow or frost line which in our system is beyond Jupiter. The reason it could exists so close in — as the pre-print alludes — is because proto-planetary systems have not yet has a star with solar wind clearing out all the interplanetary dust and gas: that came later.

Until recently, the conventional theory was that the Earth (and Mars) had water transported to it from beyond the snow line. by the more abundant comets in the early Solar system. Possibly these comets were driven inward by a migrating Jupiter to a more stable orbit, so providing the inner system with a late veneer or heavy bombardment of volatile rich comets. The picture that emerges is that water is more common — if not universal — in very early planetary systems and so planets forming there will have water.

The pre-print is Perotti, G. et al (2023) Water in the terrestrial planet-forming zone of the PDS 70 diskNature, vol. to be determined, pages to be determined.

(14) VASTER THAN EMPIRES. The Smithsonian discusses the challenges of “Preserving Launch Infrastructure” at the National Air and Space Museum.

Launching a rocket is a complex operation, requiring personnel, equipment, and infrastructure. Space agencies and companies around the world, therefore, build giant ground systems to support launches. One of the largest and best-known launch complexes is Launch Complex 39 (LC 39), which NASA has used at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to stack and launch rockets for the Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle, and Artemis programs, among others.

All these programs have relied on a similar method of assembly. Apollo and Skylab’s Saturn V and Saturn IB, the Space Shuttle’s Space Transportation System, and Artemis’ Space Launch System (SLS) have all had their final construction inside the massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). At 525 feet tall, the VAB is one of the largest buildings by volume in the world. Stacking the launch vehicle inside protects it from weather, including Florida’s frequent storms….

Both the mobile launch platforms and the CTs are enormous, meaning that they are both much too large to fit inside either of the National Air and Space Museum’s two locations. Even NASA does not have enough space to store the MLPs now that they will not be used for Artemis. At the same time, both structures are integral to the histories of three space programs. How can the Museum collect artifacts to tell this history? One way is through preserving representative components that can speak to the history, use, and scale of these pieces of infrastructure. 

From the Crawler Transporter, the Museum’s collection boasts two tread shoes. Seeing the shoes up close gives a sense of scale. Additionally, it is possible to see that these are shoes that have been used. Their wear and tear speaks to the heavy load that the CT carries as it moves the vehicle to the launch pad….

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. How It Should Have Ended works out the correct finish for “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3”. Actually, several correct finishes. Take your pick!

How Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 Should Have Ended. Starlord remembers his boots, The High Evolutionary visits the Villain Pub, The Guardians visit the Super Cafe, and Rocket Raccoon saves his friends.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Kevin Hogan, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day P J Evans.]

TYPOS by Mike Glyer

This article first appeared in 2003 in Marty Cantor’s fanzine No Award.

No title in fanzine history has ever made a promise more certain of being kept than “Typos by Mike Glyer.”

This article is really about fandom’s great and infamous typos but after I put the word at the top of my draft as a placeholder I realized the letterhacks will be circling my own mistakes like sharks. Just let it be said no attempt is being made to dishonestly inflate the count with deliberate mistakes. I’ve shied away from that sort of humor since an embarrassing experience in junior high school.

Back then I used to write a daily journal in a spiral notebook that I carried in my shirt pocket. Another student, Lee Pierson, thought something so secret must be worth knowing. He grabbed my notebook out of my pocket and ran off to read it. Lee was probably the smartest kid in school — he graduated as a National Merit Scholar – which may help explain why he thought the teasing would be even more delicious if he copyedited every page of the journal before he gave it back. Having no comeback for his critique of my grammar, I weakly countered another point, claiming, “Some of those misspellings are intentional!” This merely invited Lee to have the last word: “Intentional misspellings are meaningless when true errors abound.” 

I’ve taken Lee’s axiom to heart, filing it alongside other famous rules of writing like those given by Mark Twain in “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.” Whether or not I decide to obey any of those rules in this piece – would you notice if I did “eschew surplusage”? – every typo in this article will be genuine.

More than that, every one will be mine, a rarity in my experience with No Award. This time Marty Cantor will actually cut-and-paste the article from my word processing file. Previously, it’s been his inexplicable habit to print out a copy and retype my entire contribution from scratch. I shudder to think about those past experiences. Can you imagine anything more difficult to decipher than something I’ve allegedly copedited, filtered through Marty’s typing? Not even those 10 million monkeys with keyboards trying to produce Shakespeare can randomly equal that mess.

Fortunately (and here we finally arrive at the original topic: surplusage definitely has not been eschewed!), Marty and I publish our work in the fanzine medium, where readers tolerate a certain number of typos.

What is that number? I don’t know. You should ask the scientist who tells the FDA how many bug particles are allowed in a hot dog. Today scientists can be trusted to make these kinds of measurements. On the other hand, America’s 19th century men of science could not. David Peck, lecturer on the medical aspects of the Lewis and Clark expedition, says Captain William Clark spelled mosquito three different ways in his journal — never once getting it right! Clark’s guesses were musquetors, misquitoes, and musquitor. Of course, such mistakes are completely overshadowed by his great accomplishments and all the hardships he endured. If Marty Cantor routinely killed and ate grizzly bears for dinner nobody would say a word about the typos in No Award, either. Or much of anything besides “Yes, sir! How high, sir?”

Fanzine readers don’t merely tolerate typos. They actively exploit them as if they were the cultural equivalent to chromosomal mutations. The right typo can lead to immortality. Fans always sang parody lyrics to well-known tunes, but America’s resurgent interest in folk music during the 1950s opened the way for Lee Jacobs to make the typo that fans have embraced as the name of the activity. He submitted a manuscript titled “The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music” to SAPS. Official editor Wrai Ballard declared it unmailable, triggering a controversy that helped make this typo a permanent part of the fannish lexicon.

Walt Willis’s typo “poctsarcd” also earned enduring fame, as Harry Warner explained in A Wealth of Fable:

“While [Walt Willis] was corresponding at a great rate with Lee Hoffman, brief messages were crossing the Atlantic almost daily on postcards. For some reason Lee failed to mail any postcards for several days. Walter concernedly sent her one with the query, ‘What, no poctsarcds?’ Lee explained to him that she had been unable to find any ‘poctsarcds,’ after looking for them in every store in Savannah. Willis, publishing fanzines by a printing press at this time, immediately produced an ample stock of poctsarcds, clearly identified as such in the imprint, kept some for himself and sent the rest to her.”

Filk has become the common label for a popular fan activity, while poctsarcds keeps its place in the lexicon as one of the passwords fans use to show they are initiated into a deeper level of fannish knowledge. Besides dropping references to fanhistorical typos, the other ways fans demonstrate their great knowledge is by being able to answer questions like “Who sawed Courtney’s boat?” and avoiding the convention hotel where the Association of Narcotics Agents has started moving in.

Fandom’s occasional transformation of typos into hallmarks of sophistication is a contrast with the mundane world, though it only extends so far. The typos that are adopted into the regular fannish vocabulary are as rare as lottery winners. And Lee Pierson’s comment that intentional typos are devalued by too many ordinary typos, a writer’s equivalent of Gresham’s Law, helps explain why very few fanwriters are clever enough to profit from deliberately using them. Though the possibility that it occasionally works is implied in a passage from The Enchanted Duplicator by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw:

“’Horrible?’ laughed Kerles. ‘Everyone fights shy of me on account of these Typos, but actually they are quite agreeable fellows. Look, they will even do tricks for me.’ So saying, he stretched out his Shield of Umor, which was large and brilliantly polished, and gave a word of command. Instantly several of the Typos jumped neatly over the Shield, performing somersaults and such other odd antics that Jophan burst out laughing.”

Mostly, though, typos just make the writer look dumb. If he happens to be writing something that annoys anyone, critics will quickly find a way to point that out because we are trained to interpret sloppiness as evidence of sloppy thinking, even when it’s only sloppy typing.

It’s never wise for me to post my first reaction to a hot topic on an e-mail listserve anyway, and less so because I inevitably sabotage the effort by overlooking typos or the presence of extra words that ought to have been erased when a line was rewritten. I should stay out of arguments with fans who are also professional editors because in no time at all they make me sound sillier than monkey #10,000 on the Shakespeare project. 

Typos routinely turn into comic relief for readers on the sidelines of these arguments. LA fans who devoted thousands of words feuding with Charles Korbas, the white supremacist contributor to APA-L, weren’t above noticing the time he missed the comma and hit the next key over, giving himself a Korbasm.

It doesn’t require an argument or feud for mistakes to come under the magnifying glass, a friendly rivalry will work just as well, like the one between LASFS and NESFA. One year the LASFS voted the Forrest J Ackerman Award for Lifetime Achievement (the “Forry Award”) to Hal Clement. When the plaque arrived in Boston they noticed it actually said “Liftime Achievement,” tarnishing the effect, though it was a science-fictional sounding typo. Then a fanzine reporting on Hal’s win got another part of the name wrong, referring to it as the “Folly Award.” After that both coasts had a lot to say about the Folly Award for Liftime Achievement.

Typos committed by corporations, even the LASFS, are always regarded as blemishes on their image. Fans also can tend to be overbearing about mistakes of English usage by those for whom it is a second language. When some fans read Japanese animé subtitles they dread examples of “fortune cookie” English. On this very point, Fred Patten reported in his Apa-L-zine ¡Rábanos Radiactivos! an ironic fact: “Pioneer [Entertainment] has a minor public image problem due to a unique situation regarding its horror TV series Hellsing. Several characters’ names are deliberately spelled in ways that look like clumsy mistranslations…. Of course Hellsing itself looks like a misspelled reference to vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula. This is at the insistence of Japanese author Kouta Hirano, who also does not want it revealed that the apparent misspellings are a requirement. No explanation; he just wants it that way.”

It’s impossible to think about typos without recalling my most humbling fanpublishing experience: editing the 1998 Mythcon progress reports. The committee was full of scholars, research librarians, and plain old perfectionists, every one of them an infinitely better copyeditor than me. I might have graciously admitted that from the start and appreciated the extra help. But I seemed to be having trouble navigating my zeppelin-sized head through doorways at the time. Each time I e-mailed a draft progress report to the committee I cringed to see the huge e-mails full of corrections coming back. Of course, the bottom-line improvement was well worth it.

Far beyond any copyediting I endured, though, is what John Hertz righteously committed on behalf of the late Rick Sneary.

Sneary’s idiocyncratic spelling was a fannish legend. As Harry Warner gently wrote, “Illness in childhood prevented him from suffering the subjection to old, tired ways of spelling words that afflicts most of us. As a result, he frequently improvised novel spellings that often cast a new light on a word or entire phrase.”

Whether Rick wanted his text kept intact or not, most faneditors could not help cherishing the opportunity to participate in his legend by laboriously transcribing every word as he had typed it. Actually, Rick’s close friend Len Moffatt is quite certain that Rick hoped the editors would clean up the mistakes.

When John Hertz was working on the memorial collection of Sneary’s writing, Button-Tack, Mark Manning forwarded the text of a letter where he had painstakingly reproduced all of Sneary’s misspellings. Obedient to Sneary’s preference, John Hertz copyedited all of them away.

We should all have such a friend. In fact, I do!

Rhymes with “Banter”

By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 1543):

      Many ways to think
      Arrive through what others tell.
      Restrain no freedoms,
      Tolerate discords, knowing
      Yet nutrition comes from them.

Marty Cantor (1935-2023) left our stage Saturday morning, April 29.  Advanced cancer, which for a while had been held back by treatment, finally overcame him.

He was active in fanzines.  His fanzine Holier Than Thou (with Robbie Bourget, then his wife) was a three-time Hugo finalist; his later No Award (I wrote to him “You are worthy of No Award and No Award is worthy of you”) too was applauded; he helped run Corflu IX (fanziners’ convention; corflu = mimeograph correction fluid, largely historical by Corflu I but once indispensable) and chaired Corflu XXXIV; he served three separate terms as Official Collator of APA-L (its sole officer; APA or apa = amateur press ass’n, in which contributors’ fanzines are collated and the whole then distributed to each); he helped found LASFAPA (L.A. Scientifiction Fans’ Apa, our old word scientifiction by then historical) and served as its Little Tin God (sole officer; accused of taking a high-handed attitude to the apa rules and behaving like a little tin god, he so changed his official title, LTG for short, then began the HTT fanzine; when Corflu XXII was called “Corflu Titanium” [Ti = 22] and people were given elemental nicknames, his was Tin); he (with Mike Gunderloy, Mike Glyer, Mark Sharpe) brought Shangri-L’Affaires into one of its bursts of life (clubzine of the L.A. Science Fantasy Society, begun in the 1940s, Retrospective Hugo finalist); he (with Glyer) published the 6th Edition of The Neo-Fan’s Guide; he edited and published Phil Castora’s memoir Who Knows What Ether Lurks in the Minds of Fen?; he edited De Profundis (a later LASFS clubzine; “LASFS” as if rhyming with a Spanish-English “màs fuss”).

He and Robbie were elected DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegates to Aussiecon II the 43rd World Science Fiction Convention; each wrote a DUFF report, both published head-to-tail like Ace Books’ double titles; his was Duffbury Tales.  He was an agent for the successful Britain in ’87 bid to hold the 45th Worldcon.  He was given the Evans-Freehafer (LASFS’ service award).

From the mid 1950s through the early ’60s he was a folksinger and instrumentalist (also a poet published in the little magazines of that time), playing 6-string and 12-string guitar, gut-bucket, jug, washboard; he carried two guitars strapped to his motorcycle from coffee-house to coffee-house; Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) taught him an open-C guitar tuning; he jammed with Jim Kweskin (1940-  ), David Lindley (1944-2023), the New Lost City Ramblers.

Later he managed a tobacco shop and then was the only full-time clerk at another, from which he managed to get leave for his DUFF trip five months into his employment.  During those years he was often seen with a pipe; so portrayed on the cover of Duffbury Tales.  Later than that he managed a U-Haul shop; later than that, his apartment building, hosting tabletop board games in the garage when COVID-19 precautions eased.  He and Robbie met at Chicon IV the 40th Worldcon, were married the next January; divorced after sixteen years; no children; managed to stay on good terms.

One of our more cynical – and self-deprecatory – sayings is The Golden Age of science fiction is 12.  Cantor found SF fandom at 40.  He joined the LASFS in May 1975.  His Evans-Freehafer Award came in 2016.

He hated snow.  One day Charles Curley driving along an L.A. freeway noticed the mountains could be seen clearly (they were sometimes obscured by smog) and were covered with snow.  Here in Los Angeles!  Practically on Cantor’s doorstep – aha!  So Curley recruited some friends and shovels and a tarpaulin and a pickup truck; drove into the mountains; loaded the tarp with snow; and in the still of the night drove to Cantor’s place and piled snow by the outdoor entrance.  Cantor was really touched that they cared enough about him to pull this stunt, but added “Don’t ever do that again.”

He didn’t forsake classical music.  In his school orchestra he had been Principal of Second Violins (an orchestra has two violin sections, Violin I and Violin II, with different parts), calling for both musical quality and leadership.  As an adult he loved Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (1878) and Praetorius’ Terpsichore (1612) – two very different works, in case you don’t know.

In print, including electronic media, he could be vigorous in his opinions.  He did not keep his mundane political views away from his fanac (our old word for fan activity); for example, in APA-L he waxed wroth upon such subjects with Karl Lembke, who also did much for the LASFS (chaired the Board of Directors twenty years, substantial donor, E-F Award 2010) and local conventions (often ran Hospitality, contributing his own cooking and brewing; chaired Loscon XXXII) but was as firmly on the Right as Cantor was on the Left.  Yet Cantor punctiliously enagaged in fanac with people whose views were far from his – e.g. Lembke.  It was a point of honor with him.

May his memory be for a blessing.

Marty Cantor (1935-2023)

Marty Cantor in the 1980s. Photo by Galen Tripp.

Devoted fanzine fan and longtime LASFS member Marty Cantor died April 29 of cancer. He was 88.

Cantor started reading science fiction when he was 10 but did not find fandom until he was 40, joining the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in May 1975.

Years before discovering fandom Cantor lived in the San Gabriel Valley in Sierra Madre Canyon. He helped save the wash – a natural channel for rain runoff — from being paved over by the Army Corps of Engineers, and was appointed to Sierra Madre’s Downtown Youth Plan committee. I used to tell him the idea of a city where Marty Cantor helped run the government is awesome – of course, this is also the city where outdoor location shots for the Kevin McCarthy Invasion of the Body Snatchers were filmed.

As a brand new LASFSian in the Seventies Marty plunged into club life, writing for its weekly amateur press association, APA-L, eventually serving as its Official Collator. He later helped start a second local apa, LASFAPA, which he ran as official editor (or the title he preferred, “Little Tin God”). Together with Mike Gunderloy he even briefly revived the club’s legendary genzine Shangri-L’Affaires in 1980.

For many years Marty was married to Robbie Bourget (Cantor). As Marty told it, he arrived at Chicon IV, the 1982 Worldcon, “as a 47- year-old, more-or-less confirmed bachelor and left in a lovely emotional turmoil, thoroughly in love.” A few weeks later he proposed and they wed in January 1983. No sooner had Robbie’s name joined his on the masthead of their fanzine Holier Than Thou than they immediately scored three consecutive Best Fanzine Hugo nominations (1984-1986). They also were elected the Down Under Fan Fund delegates to Aussiecon II (1985). Each wrote a DUFF trip report which they published in the format of a kind of Ace double – with Marty’s Duffbury Tales on one side, and Robbie’s Tales of Duffbury on the reverse, a single volume of over 100 pages.

Their marriage ended in divorce around 1998.

Originally, Marty was a tobacconist by trade. He had his own shop for a number of years, then later worked for another tobacco store owner. While that was a way to encounter Hollywood characters and gather colorful anecdotes, it never approached his bizarre experience in 1994 while working as the manager of a U-Haul facility — when he auctioned off an unclaimed locker the winning bidder found several decomposing corpses inside. (Eventually the renter was tracked to Jakarta and arrested for murder.)

In later years he produced the genzine No Award (although I don’t really believe he was opposed to the idea of winning one if offered).

On the conrunning side, he organized Lasfapacon, helped run Corflu 9, and chaired Corflu 34.

Late in life Marty continued to be one of LASFS’ most active members, editing issues of the clubzine De Profundis. He was honored with the club’s Evans-Freehafer Award for service in 2016.

His remains will be cremated, says John Hertz, and there will be a memorial service.

John Hertz, DUFF delegate Clare McDonald-Sims, and Marty Cantor in the LASFS library (2016).

Two New Pages

While looking for something in issues of Marty Cantor’s Holier Than Thou at Fanac.org, I came across several columns I wrote for him. I’ve added as “pages” two of them that Filers might find entertaining.

  • ”And In The Darkness Bind Them” tells what I saw standing in line outside a Westwood theater waiting to see Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings in its 1979 first run. Dr. Seuss wishes he was there!  
  • “Riverboat Gambler” gives readers a front-row seat in a LASFS den of iniquity as three experienced hearts players, including the near-legendary Lon Atkins, lightly fleece a newcomer with delusions of adequacy, young Mike Glyer.

Gone Interplanetary

Art Widner at the 1990 Worldcon. Photo taken and (c) by Andrew Porter.

By Marty Cantor: This is going on a few lists where there may be some fen who remember this Art Widner board game.

Right, you read the name up above correctly — Art Widner.

Interplanetary is a board game which Art Widner invented in 1943.

From paperwork (which I cannot now find) I believe that there may very well have been several boards many decades ago but I am certain of one board which is still in existence, the board I used when I played the game last night.

Some time after I joined LASFS in 1975 I discovered that LASFS had not only a board for this game but also various playing pieces. And paperwork showing that others had made attempts to make the game more playable than what was apparently earlier versions of the game.

Ted Johnstone, Bill Ellern and Betty Knight demonstrating Interplanetary at the Los Angeles Hobby Show in 1960.

As a seasoned board game player I soon found that the game seemed to need quite a bit of work to make it fully playable and I worked on the game, off and on, for several years. This work required the cooperation of other LASFS’ game players. Finally, in 2007, after many years of not paying attention to the game, I put what I consider to be the finishing touches on the game – and then again put the game aside for about 10 years.

Until last night.

A couple of weeks ago I i/n/v/e/i/g/l/e/d/ convinced three women who were new to the Friday Night Board Gaming Meetup I run to play a Eurogame called Wars of the Roses. This is a longish game of some intricacy. They loved the game so I thought I would introduce them to Interplanetary so I printed the rules and handed them out.

Last night 4 of us played Interplanetary. It is, obviously, not a Eurogame-style game, depending as it does on the rolling of dice. Interplanetary is, though, a game with some strategy and a spectacularly different board than any other game.

We had fun.

Interplanetary game board

2017 Corflu Site Chosen

Corflu 34 will be hosted in the Los Angeles area in 2017. The bid was accepted today at Corflu 33 in Chicago.

Marty Cantor is Chairman, Milt Stevens will organize programming, Elayne Pelz is Treasurer, Membership, and Hotel Liaison, and Rob Jackson is the UK representative.

The con will be held April 29-30, 2017 at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills.

[Thanks to Marty Cantor for the story.]

Tepper, Levin Marry

Debra Levin and Matthew Tepper wed in a Jewish ceremony at the LASFS clubhouse on June 30 in the presence of about 75 family members and friends.

A canopy lifted on four poles was carried into the main meeting room by members of the wedding party including John DeChancie and David Gerrold.  The canopy was blue fabric with an elaborate yellow design.

The principals came forward in procession, Rabbi Marcia Minsky, who presided over the ceremony, Tepper in a top hat and black tuxedo, and Levin wearing a white wedding gown beautifully trimmed in lace.

Minsky was assisted by Mark Poliner. Tom Safer cued the music. Other participants included Joyce Sperling, Eylat Poliner, Charles Lee Jackson II and Jerry Pournelle, plus several more whose names I didn’t know.

At the appropriate point in the ceremony, various people had the honor of reading one of the seven blessings, in Hebrew if they were able, otherwise in English translation. Jerry Pournelle recited the third blessing in English: “Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates man.” Barry and Lee Gold did a glorious job reading the lengthy seventh blessing, first in Hebrew, and then in translation.

Matthew waved off the applause that began when people thought the service had ended, because he still needed to stamp on the glass – then the couple was introduced and applause resumed.

LASFS officers figured prominently in the service. The groom is club president, while his bride is vice-president-elect. Marcia Minsky and Eylat Poliner, are co-vice-presidents, and Charles Lee Jackson II is a Special Advisor.

It was a great occasion, and a chance to greet some old friends including Elst and Carole Weinstein, Regina Renante, Marty Cantor, and quite a few of those named above.

Hertz Tells the Truth

By John Hertz: John DeChancie corrected me.  I reported that at Loscon XXXVIII, where he was Author and I was Fan Guest of Honor, he said he’d never heard of fanzines until Marty Cantor sent him Holier Than Thou.  This was a misstatement by one or both of us.  In fact DeChancie knew of fanzines; he was then given a stack by no less than Bob Leman; he wrote Thou a letter of comment; the return copy was the first specifically addressed to him.  I like this version better, not only because it’s truer, and shows a fine fannish pro hipper sooner, but also because it shows him looking around.  Be bigger than your immediate adventure.

Reporting on the new LASFS (Los Angeles S-F Society) clubhouse I said it had no patio.  Other members later pointed out a door I hadn’t seen.   It opened onto the 14th Chorp Dimension and there I was.

Cantor also reminds me DeChancie is in both APA-L (Amateur Press Ass’n – LASFS, LASFS being the host though not the sponsor of L) and LASFAPA (L.A. Scientifiction Fans’ Am. Pr. Ass’n).  Cantor, who is the Official Collator of L, and the Little Tin God of LASFAPA, will not let either of his children be slighted even for the sake of the other.  In fact he’s a man whose deeds are better than his words.  Cantor – what do you mean I’ve ruined your – put that blaster down – augh

Expert Elst Finds Cable Fame

Elst Weinstein declared to me at Loscon, “I’ve been on TV more than anybody at this convention!” David Brin might have been nearby so I suggested that was hard to believe. Once I heard his story, however, I was convinced.

Elst appeared in an April episode of Storage Wars as an expert helping to identify a strange old medical device.

Storage units rarely figure prominently in fannish news – really, the last time was 1994 when Marty Cantor was working as the manager of a U-Haul facility and auctioned off an unclaimed locker in which the winning bidder found several decomposing corpses. Eventually the original renter was tracked to Jakarta and arrested for murder.

Storage Wars follows four bidders competing to score big at storage auctions. In “Live and Let Bid,” episode 19 of the show’s first season, someone found a peculiar old brass mechanism and turned for help in identifying it to The Southern California Medical Museum. Elst, a pediatrician, also is an avid collector and happens to be the museum’s volunteer curator.

He knew the item on sight. It was scarifier, probably dating to the 19th century and used by a doctor to bleed patients. Not long ago Elst’s museum mounted an extensive exhibit about medical bleeding, full of fleems, scarifiers, glass cups and leeches.

Elst was on screen for about two minutes. But A&E has repeated the episode over 100 times since April. As a result, he’s enjoyed many times his allotted 15 minutes of fame.  

A local paper subsequently published a fine interview with Elst about the Southern California Medical Museum. Click here to read it.